Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Response to "Stop Executions of Innocent People"

I was extremely moved by Liz's blog post. The death penalty is undeniably more popular in Texas, but I think it's time we rethink our forms of punishment. I cannot imagine being injected with a lethal substance for something that I was wrongly convicted of. That would be a terrible demise. Evidence and DNA testing now shows that people have been wrongly convicted of serious crimes. 

In my opinion, if one were a true convict, it would be more of a punishment to be locked up in prison to recount ones actions than to die quickly by lethal injection. If a person were incorrectly sentenced to life in prison and DNA testing deems them innocent, they still have a chance to be free. Those who die by lethal injection would not get the chance to be freed from the conviction during their lifetime. It is cruel not to give these innocent people a chance when the only "chance" they get is a trial run by humans who just want to convict someone, despite their innocence. 

Despite the execution being a relatively quicker sentence than a life sentence, it is far from a pleasant experience. It isn't even painless. They're given chemicals to anesthetize their bodies, relax the muscles, and to stop the heart. Undergoing asphyxiation, severe burning sensations, and massive muscle cramping which ultimately leads to cardiac arrest, especially without anesthesia, can be considered cruel and unusual punishment. 

Putting a stop to such a severe use of the death penalty would give the innocent a chance to be released some time in the future due to surfacing evidence or DNA evidence. It's hard to say no to the death penalty for those who have committed murders themselves, but it's also scary to think about when you put yourself in the innocent convict's shoes. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Meningitis Vaccination

From a future health care provider's prospective, I feel compelled to support the entirety of the meningitis vaccine law, especially after a student from our very own Texas A&M passed away after contracting bacterial meningitis. Because the law concerning meningitis vaccination applied only to those who lived in on-campus dorms, he did not get vaccinated. The response is the requirement of students to get the vaccine. However, opponents are looking to tweak the law, as certain regulations that are the best for one school may not be what is good for another. 

Despite my ties to the medical field, I feel that though the vaccination should be strongly urged by the university, the decision to get the vaccine should ultimately be left up to the student and the family. I do believe that the meningitis vaccination is something that every student should be quick to get because the the effects are devastating. If one who contracts meningitis survives, they run the risk of after effects such as nervous system disorders and seizures or strokes. By getting the vaccine, one can lower the risk of spreading the disease to others who may not be vaccinated.

However there are those who oppose the vaccination mandate for religious or philosophical reasons. Whatever the reason, I believe that if you choose not to get the vaccine, it is your decision and you are therefore putting yourself at risk. Students should be fully informed of the risks, though, so that they understand the dangers of meningitis and are aware of the effects.

The meningoccocal vaccine is something that I fully support, as it minimizes one's risks of contracting bacterial meningitis and therefore can save a life. The state is implementing its power to help save lives and families. With the opposition though, especially the opposition to putting a substance into your body, I respect the idea that the decision--being fully aware of the risks at hand--be left up to the student and the family. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Response to "Welfare and Drug Testing"

Honestly, I think you are jumping to conclusions when your statements assume that those on welfare are jobless and that they have put themselves in that position. Florida has implemented a law similar to the one you are very adamant about, and the results show that there are no tangible savings, did little to deter drug users, and there was an insignificant effect on the number of applicants for welfare.

Oftentimes, the common drug detected is marijuana, which is a ridiculous reason to call for statewide drug tests for since marijuana is much safer than alcohol anyway. One of the many examples is that while the CDC has recorded that 37,000 people die annually from alcohol use, the number of deaths by marijuana use is zero. I'm not saying that it is okay to use welfare money to buy more drugs, but drug testing is a poor method to lower the money spent on welfare. 

If you want to spend the state's welfare money on those who actually need it, you should be more concerned about welfare fraud. Too many people hide their income so that they appear to be living in poverty or very poor conditions. This grants them eligibility to receive welfare while they add that governmental money to their hidden income. 

Lastly, you assert that these drug tests will not increase federal spending. There are 333,435 people on welfare and it costs $12 per person, which equals a grand total of $4,001,220 for the implementation of a law that has proven to not work. What we must be holding our citizens responsible for is something like welfare fraud, not for this generalization that those on welfare are jobless and drug addicts. Besides, there are ways that drug users (if they are desperate enough to obtain welfare money) to pass drug tests

Classmate's Blog stage 5 post:

Friday, July 27, 2012

In the 2012 platform,

recently adopted by the Texas GOP, there are some unbelievable sections. One of the more controversial ones involves the opposition of critical thinking skills being taught in the education system. These include teachings that could undermine parental authority as well as cause the student to reconsider "fixed beliefs." 

My obvious concern with this is that, in my opinion, students should have the freedom to explore different beliefs and ways of thinking and that teachers should encourage this. How can a student experience intellectual growth if  they are forced to think with a never changing mindset? The great innovator Steve Jobs once said, "When you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way it is, and...just to live your life inside the world, try not to bash into the walls too much...once you discover...that everything around you...was made up by people that were no smarter than you...and you change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can'll never be the same again." 

The Republican party is saying that it was a mistake to include "critical thinking" in the plank and that this mistake cannot be "fixed" until 2014. Word choice might have been overlooked in editing this important document, but how were the words "critical thinking" inserted there in the first place? And if that were truly a mistake, why would the plank include the statement of opposition of higher order thinking skills? A child/student should be allowed to explore higher thinking and have their thoughts challenged in order to contribute new ideas for the greater good of the world. Something about the opposition of critical thinking and of the opposition of challenging of a student's beliefs seems eerily 1984-like to me.

Censorship and restriction of higher thinking and critical thought processes extremely bothers me because as a people we cannot become mindless drones, stubborn to a change of mind and a lack of new idea contributions. Critical thinking is "thinking that questions assumptions." It is considered essential to many professions (think about how iPhone-less, we would all be if   not for Steve Jobs' critical thinking of the potentials of his abilities). A person should not be content with simple minded thinking and should be open to higher forms of thought. Intellectual thought is something that people cannot take away from you, when you have been stripped of your material things. Because a lifespan is so short, we should strive for bettering our minds to hopefully better society. Mistake or not, the addition of the opposition of "critical thinking" in the GOP platform is something that calls for concern.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Quite honestly,

Ed Hubbard's post on same sex marriage nearly brought me to tears. I decided to go through Republican blogs because, as a person who leans more to the left, I reasoned it would be easier to argue a post I disagreed with than to support a post I agreed with. 

When I came across Hubbard's post, I was ready to counter all of his points, as same sex marriage is an "issue" that I feel shouldn't even be an issue. I was highly unprepared for what Hubbard had to say about same sex marriage. Not only did he back up his points with powerful quotes and rhetorical questions about universal principles, but he went on to identify himself strongly as a conservative Republican whose arguments showed that he has stepped into another's shoes and recognized his party's faults. He urges fellow Republicans to rethink their approach to same sex marriage, especially in the heat of political campaigns. 

One of my biggest concerns with the same sex marriage controversy is that a union between two people should not involve governmental intervention. The great opposition same sex marriage is met with seems silly. How does it seem right that, in some states, it is legal to marry your first cousin, yet in almost all of the states same sex marriage is illegal? Although Hubbard does not delve into the scientific realm of the argument, there are genetic problems that should be acknowledged. Marrying your first cousin and consequently producing children results in increased risk of deadly disabilities due to genetic mutations. Yet marrying your same sex partner does not yield the deadly results of inbreeding. 

One of the most moving parts of Hubbard's post is when he recognizes that the judgment of others for "sinning," is ironic for we are all sinners. He effectively acknowledges the fact that we all have tendencies that differ from the norm at some point in time, something that we should keep in mind before we turn against another fellow human being for their "sin." 

Currently Texas prohibits same sex marriage, a fact that continually puzzles me. The question that keeps running through my mind is, "how can same sex marriage be harmful to someone else?"  The question echoed louder when Hubbard used quote after quote from distinguished historical figures to demonstrate that we have presently lost touch with what our political fathers believed should bring us together--that we may express love towards each other. Hubbard makes a good point in that because our children and the new generation are listening to us, one must reflect on the fierce manner in which one express one's ideas. 

I've read through many of Hubbard's posts on various controversial topics, and I've disagreed with many of them, but it gives me hope to know that despite our different views on governing a group of people, he (and hopefully other conservatives out there) sees that despite the differences in sexuality, we are all still, at our core, humans. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

We must become better. We must.

I could not agree more with Falkenberg. It’s part of being a Texan to take pride in the vast diversity of the lone star state. We’ve got so much to brag about, from the culture to the geography to the history. But we focus on just that. Most Texans have yet to look at the present state of Texas. The statistics Falkenberg uses are shocking. Our state is ranked so low on education funding, a fact that should alarm parents and students alike. We are also ranked second worst in the amount of people (by percentage) who are food-insecure (lack of availability of food and access to it), and it is mind-baffling to me how so many Texans leave such statistics, or knowledge of, out when boasting.

I am confident that we Texans are more capable than this. In our economic situation, we cannot afford the audacity to cling onto our past victories or rich diversity and ignore the problems at hand. Everything’s bigger in Texas, including our pride. If the Texan citizens do not swallow the pride of the victories of our fathers, then our children will have nothing to rejoice for when Texas continues to plummet in education funding and food insecurity. I have always been proud to have been born and raised in the lone star state, but at this rate I’m not sure I’m too proud.

Contrary to Falkenberg’s belief though, I don’t think Texans deserve these “pitiful rankings.” Yes, the rankings show that we have not done too much to improve our state or that the systems in place aren’t working, but I believe, optimistically, that Texans will hopefully pull through. Hopefully we are proud enough to want to uphold the glorified state so that we may continue being proud.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Rick Perry says "No" to PPACA

On July 9, 2012, Governor Rick Perry  announced his opposition  to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. To some, the Act passed by Obama is considered a "financial black hole." To others it means turning away the large population of uninsured people and leaving those less fortunate behind. My first reaction to Perry's blatant disregard for the plan was disbelief and irritation at how he could prevent 1.3 million Texans health care insurance. But, as all good things have a downfall, the PPACA is argued to cause a negative effect on the quality of medical care, despite its efforts to provide nationwide coverage. As a liberal, of course I would want to extend health care to those who can't afford it for themselves. However, this might mean the decrease in quality medical attention as well as increased taxes for American citizens, both of which would result in a heated response from the mass public. There is a fraction of my conscience that distrusts the government's ways at times, but it is possible that at this early stage in the implementation of the Act, it's difficult for citizens to see all of the benefits  it can bring. As a student going into the medical field, it pains me to contemplate whether the poor quality of medical care is worth extending health care/insurance. There are those who are still able at this time to provide health insurance for themselves, but is helping one unhealthy person save money worth having poor medical attention for the people after them? I noticed that under the PPACA, the proceeding of medical operations could be controlled by the government despite the patient's ability to afford it. However, Texas' current health care laws, the option to proceed with the operation is not under the government's discretion. With the current health care laws now though, the ability to afford the operation is obviously the biggest inhibiting factor. We cannot deny that we rank fairly low nationally in health care and my instinct is for health insurance and access to be felt by all, but in the heat of this controversy, it's hard for me to stand firmly on one particular side.